Medicine is the first of the Nobel Prizes awarded each year. This year, the prize went to three American scientists Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young for their discoveries about the body's daily rhythms.

US trio Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young won the 2017 Nobel Medicine Prize for their work on internal biological clocks on 2 October 2017 [Twitter/ @NobelPrize]
US trio Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young won the 2017 Nobel Medicine Prize for their work on internal biological clocks on 2 October 2017 [Twitter/ @NobelPrize] (TRTWorld)

US-born scientists Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling our biological clocks, the award-giving body said on Monday.

The mechanisms help explain issues such as why people travelling long distances over several time zones often suffer jet lag and they have wider implications for health such as increased risk for certain diseases.

"[The three scientists'] discoveries explain how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronised with the Earth's revolutions," the Nobel Assembly at Sweden's Karolinska Institute said in a statement.

Fruit flies used to test theory

The laureates used fruit flies to isolate a gene that controls the normal daily biological rhythm and showed how this gene encoded a protein that accumulates in the cell during the night and degrades during the day.

"The clock regulates critical functions such as behaviour, hormone levels, sleep, body temperature and metabolism," the Assembly said on awarding the prize of 9 million Swedish crowns ($1.1 million).

Medicine the first of this year's Nobels

Medicine is the first of the Nobel Prizes awarded each year. The prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were created in accordance with the will of dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel and have been awarded since 1901.

Nobel medicine laureates have included scientific greats such as Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin, and Karl Landsteiner, whose identification of separate blood types opened the way to carrying out safe transfusions.

Source: Reuters